Debra Johnson is the next General Manager and CEO

The RTD Board of Directors has selected transit industry veteran Debra Johnson as the agency’s next general manager and CEO, capping off an extensive nationwide search for RTD’s new permanent top leader and naming a woman to the role for the first time in the agency’s half-century history. 

The Board and Johnson will begin negotiating the terms of her employment agreement, a process expected to be complete by the end of October. RTD will announce the date Johnson begins her new role when it has been determined.

Debra Johnson

Debra Johnson    |    Resume

Debra Johnson is a visionary, transit executive with over 25 years of diversified, progressively responsible experience leading and managing business processes for public transit agencies. She has held executive positions at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). Currently, she is the Deputy CEO at Long Beach Transit in Long Beach, CA.

Description of Work

  • The Denver Regional Transportation District (“RTD”) is seeking a dynamic, collaborative and progressive executive to lead the organization as its next General Manager/Chief Executive Officer (“GM/CEO”).
  • Reporting to a 15-member directly elected Board of Directors, the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) is responsible for implementing policy set by the Board by overseeing and directing the daily operations of RTD’s services. This executive must represent RTD as its chief executive to the public by listening to their needs and working with the Board to guide RTD in providing solutions that meet the needs of RTD’s stakeholders.
  • The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of successfully managing a large, complex, and diverse organization that operates to provide the highest quality of service to its customers. Additionally, this individual will have strong financial management, strategic planning, public relations, community relations, and governmental relations skills.
  • Given the uncertain economic future with the COVID 19 pandemic and RTD’s current financial liabilities, a background and understanding of government finance will be a major asset. Flexibility and an ability to identify creative funding solutions will be essential to ensure that RTD is able to provide the highest quality of service to its customers while delivering on its past commitments.
  • RTD’s employees and its Board of Directors are dedicated to working together to ensure that the District continues to operate as one of the leading transit systems in the United States. As such, the new GM/CEO will be integral to the continued success of RTD and the region as it strives to provide the highest quality of service possible to its customers and stakeholders.
  • Review the complete job description: GM/CEO Job Description.


RTD is an equal employment opportunity employer. RTD is a Drug-Free Workplace.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility be documented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work.

The Regional Transportation District complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.

RTD participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S. If E-Verify cannot confirm that you are authorized to work, this employer is required to give you written instructions and an opportunity to contact Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) so you can begin to resolve the issue before the employer can take any action against you, including terminating your employment. Employers can only use E-Verify once you have accepted a job offer and completed the Form I-9.